9 Spring-Cleaning Tips for Your Garden and Deck
Once spring has arrived, it’s time to prepare the beds for the summer growing season. Spring is the best time to repair any damage from winter weather. It’s also wise to clean up your yard before the heavy growth cycle begins. Following are nine spring garden maintenance tips to help you get ready for the summer growing season.
1. Look for winter damage. Inspect your yard for damaged or broken tree limbs that will require removal. Pay especially close attention to broken limbs that overhang structures such as your decking or cedar fence panels. Inspect your fencing, decking and any stairs or pathways for disrepair.
2. Perform a deck safety inspection. Carefully examine your decking for signs of rot, loose boards or weakness in the ledger board. Test your decking’s stability by standing in the middle and moving your feet in a hula-hoop motion; if it wobbles, you’ve got a problem. Additionally, you should test the stain on your decking with a garden hose; if the water beads up, you’re in good shape. If the water soaks in, plan on applying a new stain when the weather warms up.
3. Design new garden beds or fences. Thinking of expanding or rearranging your garden? Spring is the time to lay out new planting beds or initiate a new fence installation. Vinyl pickets, cedar fence panels, and chain link fencing are all popular choices for marking garden boundaries and keeping out small animals. When choosing a fencing material, first decide on the primary purpose of the fence installation and consider whether you’re willing to put time into regular maintenance on cedar fence panels, or whether you’d prefer the low maintenance of chain link.
4. Examine your fencing. Examine your fence for any areas that need repair, such as broken or rotting boards, popped nails and knotholes. If you have cedar fence panels, assess whether it’s time to restain your fencing.
5. Enrich the Soil with Compost. Spring is a good time to harvest compost. Mix it into your planting beds. Afterwards, ensure that the soil is moist, but not dripping wet.
6. Trim trees, grasses, and shrubs. Remove dead plants, trim diseased branches, and cut back ornamental grasses. Thin and trim summer-blooming shrubs, and prune early-blooming shrubs after they’ve flowered.
7. Eliminate weeds. Pull up any weeds growing around the perimeter of your beds, as well as any near the landscaping around your fence or decking. It is much easier to pull weeds in the spring than in any other season, as their roots are still shallow.
8. Plant. Plant trees, shrubs, bulbs and cool-season vegetables. Re-seed any sparse patches in your lawn.
9. Begin a compost pile or bin. If you don’t have a compost pile or bin, beginning in the spring means you’ll have fresh compost ready to harvest by this time next year. If you don’t have room for a large bin or pile, consider a small compost tumbler that can fit on your decking.
Once spring growth kicks in, there will be plenty to do around the garden to keep you busy well into fall. By preparing your garden now, you can save yourself time and work later.